Apparently, as Denver grows, so does its taste for hops. In a nod to the city’s thriving craft scene, and the (related) collective evolution of Denverites’ palates, Great Divide Brewing Co. has revamped its Denver Pale Ale recipe to pack a substantially more bitter punch. Gone is the English-style Denver Pale Ale, and here to stay (we assume) is an American-style pale ale named for the Mile High City.

The new Denver Pale Ale, released earlier this month and heading to liquor store shelves in their spiffy new cans this week, delivers a mouthful of Centennial and Simcoe hops up front that carry a faint note of pine. It’s a straightforward, forcefully effervescent drink (softened with a touch of oats) that finishes dry. Curiously, the ABV has dropped a shmidge, down to 5 percent from 5.5.

“We really wanted to capture the essence of Denver, highlight attributes of Denver and people who live here,” says Great Divide head brewer Ethan Osborne. “[Now] it’s more hoppy—the people here enjoy that [hop-heavy] American style.”

When Great Divide first released its Denver Pale Ale in 1997, the brewery was one of few craft brewers in the state. Beer enthusiasm was far from mainstream, as was Denverites’ now characteristic appetite for hops. An English-style ale under an appellation that included “Denver” wasn’t such an offense. But that was then. In the nearly two decades since, the scene has grown and defined itself.

“An English-style pale ale didn’t do the name justice,” says Shannon Berner, Great Divide’s marketing manager.

For those who will miss the original DPA, don’t fear—the old recipe will still be brewed occasionally. Look out for the fancy new cans, designed by local artist Josh Holland to celebrate Great Divide’s new home base in RiNo, on shelves this week. You can also sip the new brew at their RiNo barrel bar and Five Points taproom.

Visit: Great Divide Brewing Co, 2201 Arapahoe St.; Great Divide Barrel Bar, 1812 35th St.; 303-296-9460

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.